PORTLAND -- A high school counselor is mobilizing a team of volunteers to create a College and Career Center at Benson High School.
“What I want to do is bring volunteers in from the community and train them to work with students helping them find colleges and careers,” explained organizer Amy Henry.
On Wednesday, Henry and 20 volunteers started remodeling a 1,500-square-foot space in the school.
“We had people come in and tell us it would cost $45,000 to do this work but we’ll do it for about $15,000 because of all the products donated and people giving their time,” said Henry.
The project will take about three weeks and is under the leadership of volunteer contractor Doreen Roozee.
“I know Portland Public Schools can’t spend money on this project and I look for projects that can have a big impact,” she said.
It took about six months to get district approval and permits from the city. The work will be finished in time for the start of school.
“Freshman and sophomore students will get help identifying careers. Then, as juniors and seniors, they’ll get help filling out college applications and financial aid forms,” explained Henry.
Currently 50 percent of Benson students go on to 2-year programs and 30 percent leave for 4-year colleges.
The new center could be the key to improving those numbers.
“This is not going to be a lounge or an area to hang out. It’s going to be a place to decide what you’re going to do once you leave here,” concluded Roozee.
Anyone who wants to volunteer at the College and Career Center at Benson High School can contact Amy Henry via email.